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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

I have been bad; very, very bad. On Tuesday, I started a unit on plate tectonics with my earth science students. To introduce this unit, I always like to model the interior structure of the earth... with peanut M&Ms. Now, remember, I'd been out of the classroom for three years before getting back to it this fall. I couldn't remember how many bags I would need for three classes, so - to be on the safe side - I got extra. There's nothing worse than running out of materials in middle of the day, right? Well, maybe one thing worse: having so many peanut M&Ms left over that in two days, you gain three pounds. I really wish I was kidding.

So, what have I been eating for dinner in a lame attempt to stem the flow of calories? Salad. Lots and lots of salad. This is another new dressing to me. I got the original recipe after being served a wonderful salad at Christmas eve dinner. It was (try and follow this!) my husband's brother's wife's mom's recipe. (Yeah, so I could've said it came from my sister-in-law's mother... but where's the fun in that?).

This is a wonderful dressing; I was enamoured with it from my very first bite. Of course, when I got the recipe, I quickly realized why. There was half a cup of sugar for 1 cup of liquid! Phew! No wonder I liked it so well. Fortunately, when I made it at home the first time, I cut the sugar in half and still thought the dressing was divine. The other thing I like so much about this dressing is the color! I'm not normally a big fan of pink, but it's a great shade on a dressing. Gorgeous! For the best flavor, be sure you use a good quality, fresh bottle of red wine vinegar. A bottle that's been around for a while can have an unappealing sour taste and that's no fun.

Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Yield: approx. 1 cup of dressing

1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBS chopped onion
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp poppy seeds

In a blender or mini-prep processor, process the sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and onion together until well blended. Add the oil and process for 5-10 seconds. Stir in the poppy seeds. Keeps refrigerated in an air-tight for one week.

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